I have “mentally” composed several messages over this past week, but have not had a chance to get them to type until now. It has been several tumultuous days since my last missive, but I wanted to reconnect. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the landscape of our day-to-day lives, I would like to take the time to thank each of you for your continued patience and understanding. You are doing a great job and we appreciate all of your amazing work. Each of us must cope with the emotions and realities that this pandemic has caused in our own way, and I encourage you to give yourself the space, time, and grace to do so. This is not something that we or our fellow citizens of the world have experienced in our lifetimes, especially not on such a large scale.
Whether staff, student, or professor, the transition to working and studying remotely can be a jarring one. In this time of unease and isolation, please remember to reach out and stay connected. It is together, though six feet apart, that we will get through this. Our decisions will affect the duration of this crisis. Stay in touch with friends, call your loved ones, set daily and weekly goals, and try to find calm in the storm. Whether you stay in your normal routine or find a new one, make time to go for a walk, stretch, and distance yourselves from the media from time to time. Don’t hesitate to utilize the resources available to you through the University or Alberta Health Services. Your mental health is important. The common goal remains the health of our communities.
I’d like to say thank you again to those of you that cannot work from home because you are working for the public good. Thank you to our student pharmacists for all that you are doing. Thank you to our faculty members and researchers who are working tirelessly in the laboratories to better understand COVID-19 and bring us closer to a solution. Thank you to all the health care professionals who are risking their own health for the sake of ours. We see you, and we are proud and grateful for all that you continue to do.
I was reflecting today on an early childhood lesson that my dearly departed grandmother instilled in me: “Love thy neighbour”. In secular terms, we must act for the benefit of others if we are to have meaning and purpose in our lives. This is why I became a pharmacist. Personally, there is little meaning or value in the things we wish to accomplish if we do not keep such a perspective.
Though my words of comfort cannot be heard, they can be read. Please know that this experience is a collective one. The stress, pain, or whatever you might feel, echoes in all of us across the University, the country, and the world. You are not alone. In the end, we will be stronger for what we have overcome and we will be able to use the lessons we have learned to help future generations.
All my life, I have found solace in literature and reading. As American poet, singer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it."
Stay healthy, and be kind to one another.
Neal M. Davies BSc(Pharm), Ph.D., R.Ph.
Dean and Professor